By Nathan Gill
April 30 (Bloomberg) — Empresa Nacional de Electricidad SA, Chile’s biggest power generator, said it plans to invest about $1 billion this year to expand capacity.
The Santiago-based company known as Endesa will invest in wind farms, a natural gas plant and a coal steam plant, adding 680 megawatts of capacity, Chief Financial Officer Manuel Irarrazaval said during a conference call today.
Endesa, which also operates in Brazil, Peru and Colombia, is expanding in Chile after sales there helped drive first-quarter earnings growth. Fuel costs fell in Chile and hydropower capacity rose after rainfall returned following a drought that hurt generation last year.
Regulations in Chile “were adopted to be more pro investment,” Francisco Errandonea, head of research at Santander Investment, said today by phone from Santiago. “Chile has not only growth in demand, it is also in a process of replacing the natural gas plants that they don’t now expect to use in the long term.”
Net income rose to 166 billion pesos ($286.2 million) from 68.4 billion pesos a year earlier, as revenue jumped 24 percent, Endesa reported yesterday.